Reader Comments: Nunes Memo - Big Dud; Puerto Rico - many still without power; Union Membership Growth...Amidst Decline; Medicare for All - Canadian Readers Tell Their Story; Teaching Slavery; Antonio Gramsci; Trump's Military Parade - in song; Olympic Truce Actions; Cuba's Historic Literacy Campaign; The Puerto Rican Socialist Party; Scholarships for Young Activists; 50th Anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre; and more....
Portside, Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - February 8, 2018
It certainly is interesting to note that Portside has decided that defending the integrity of the US Intelligence establishment, so those powerful forces can 'get Trump', is a great idea. Defending and supporting our most powerful enemies to 'get' a buffoonish clown is the best we can do? C'mon, folks. We gotta do a LOT better than this.
This degree of confusion on the Left is going to come back and bite us, VERY hard, in the backside. Our bamboozlement is complete. We are desperate to return to power forces that will advance neo-liberalism, and give lip service to our enthrallment with Identity Politics. Let the Super Wealthy Elites have all the power, as long as they will support LGBT rights, gender rights, etc. So as the common people become more impoverished, we can revel in celebration of transgender people's right to go potty wherever they want to.
C'mon, folks.....(Sigh)...Just because Trump is 'bad' that does not mean that anyone who wants to 'get Trump' is good. Is that too complex a concept for Portside moderators to grasp? (C'mon, folks....geez...). Everyone who hates the 'bad guy' is not necessarily a 'good guy'. Other 'bad guys' might even be worse than the 'bad guy' that they (and we) hate. That is very obviously the case here. The Elites who hate Trump, with whom we are now stupidly aligning ourselves, are much more powerful and dangerous than this buffoonish clown in the White House.
It seems clear that we'll likely never know whether this memo has any merit at all, (or not), because our mass media, which is wholly owned and controlled by the Power Elites who oppose Trump, is intent on burying it beneath an avalanche of deliberate obfuscation.
Did the party in power, (the Obama regime), use the police apparatus of the US government to spy on the campaign of a political opponent, in order to try to retain power? If they did, then that is the precedent we are helping to affirm when we support this media avalanche.
I don't know if they did. And neither does Portside. And neither does this presumptuous writer, Dahlia Lithwick. It sure seems like it would be interesting to find out, but Portside is helping our Elites make sure we never will. We're so desperate to 'get Trump' that our official position is: "don't bother us with the mere facts, we've already made up our minds"? (Lordy..lordy....please forgive us...we're doing the best we can...)
Is the American Left just completely determined to remain marginalized and pitiably weak? If we can't think our way deeper into an analysis than to align ourselves with the nation's Power Elite, with our most powerful enemy, then we will remain pitiably weak in perpetuity.
C'mon, folks. This ain't rocket science. Trump is bad. But he's a clown. He's a patsy. He's being used, with great success, to divert our attention from our true enemy, the Super Wealthy Elites and their alliance with the deep state forces of elite military and intelligence commanders, which together comprise the Power Elites.
You are letting them play you like the proverbial fiddle. You are dancing on the ends of their strings like mindless marionettes. It is a very sad, and very alarming, spectacle to witness.
"On an island that is reeling, the stakes for schools are high. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has announced that he aims to shutter more than 300 schools amid expectations that enrollment will plunge 10 percent in the coming school year."
Your headlines make it seem that the US labor movement prospered last year. A bit of digging around, though, and one comes to the key number. The overall unionization percent fell again last year - from 13% to 12.5%. The US labor movement continues its march to oblivion.
Roy J. Adams
Onetime Adjunct Professor
AFL-CIO Meany Centre
Trump's attacks on the judiciary, his conflicts of interest, and 2100 lies (5.9 a day) are documented by Fred W. and Common Cause.If you do a search for "Democracy21," this study comes right up!I look forward to your comments. Trump has no consistent political agenda. The GOP tax heist (NY Times) gives every member of the top 1% a Christmas gift of $210K. No money will be left for the infrastructure after $5 trillion is given to households with over $1 million income. Government of the people looks different than government of the powerful, as Sen Merkley said.
One point mentioned in here regarding giving up company health benefits. In Canada, you can keep them and still use national health care. In my company they covered things not totally covered by the reg health care such as, semi or private rooms, massages, extra dental and vision care. And you can go to any doctor or hospital that you choose in Canada. Also no paperwork except health card.
I wrote a comment on Portside that was immediately marked as spam. Why is an attempt at constructive contribution to a discussion immediately squelched? Who are the censors? This is the comment relating to teaching about slavery. You may not agree, but deleting comments and marking them as spam do not help develop approaches to difficult problems that will take work to solve. If you think I am excusing racism, say so. Offer suggestions.
I have worked as a teacher and would never have done what that teacher did. But without help, teachers can become cowards who avoid all controversy and make lessons pro-forma weak and irrelevant.
Here is what I wrote:
"The incident in the Bronx tells me two things: First that teachers are left to their own devices when trying to bring things to life in history. There is no collaboration which might have turned this blunder into something more meaningful and less traumatic to Black students. Second that bringing the history of racism into the classroom is a very underdeveloped enterprise. There should already have been in existence a series of lesson plans, written over time and vetted by many sources. Some parents say she is generally a good teacher. She walked into uncharted territory and made a big mistake."
Moderator: Don't know what happened. Portside does not censor comments. We will run your comments in Tidbits - Reader Comments on Thursday (like we do when you comment on other posts). Will look into what happened to see that it does not repeat.
Education in the classroom on the economic, political, personal, familial, racist affects of chattel slavery as practiced in the USA is totally lacking in content.
I perpetually encourage everyone to visit the African Burial Grounds in Manhattan on Duane Street near the courthouses, including every tourist and all the teachers I meet in passing. I recommend that all of us who looked at this article do the same. Thanks for this article.
While public education deteriorates due to poor management, limited funds and lack of a comprehensive and updated educational philosophy, the armed forces budgets increase and the uncountable drop outs go to enlarge the platoons of the military system.
It's more about what corporate policies and work rules should be changed and what government oversight should exists and what kind of community input is required. A criminal trial is the worst possible way to uncover all the risky and dangerous factors that led up to this crash and make sure they are dealt with. Why is this the area to focus on? Because most of these risk factors are still out there.
I am no Foucault expert at all, and have had hard times trying to read him and his style, but what I can understand seems to have been highly impacted by Gramsci [who I have not read at all]. But I also see shades of Rudolf Rocker, who I believe pre-dates Gramsci.
Foucault, as I recall, said that in analyzing power, we could not limit ourselves to the state but had to include in these analyses our public schools and even our libraries as forces that sort of prepared the ground for what the state ultimately inflicts, and why we obey.
Lyrics: Bennet Zurofsky & Susan Vercheak
Music: Woody Guthrie - If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands
It's treason if you don't clap your hands [pause pause]
It's treason if you don't clap your hands [pause pause]
It's the Donald right or wrong,
And you'd better go along
'Cause it's treason if you don't clap your hands [pause pause]
He wants to bomb North Korea [pause pause]
To asylum seekers all he says is "see ya" [pause pause]
Climate change is a hoax,
And Civil Rights a joke
But it's treason if you don't clap your hands [pause pause]
He broadcasts hate over twitter [pause pause]
But you'd better not hiss or even titter [pause pause]
Cause his alt.right minions
Hate dissenting opinions
And it's treason if you don't clap your hands [pause pause]
Is it fascism yet? I ask you sisters [pause pause]
It's time for us to all be resistors [pause pause]
Let's oppose him in the streets,
With our ballots and our speech
And be sure that we never clap our hands [pause pause]
He says it's treason if we don't clap our hands [pause pause]
He says it's treason if we don't clap our hands [pause pause]
But we're here to say,
That we'll save the American Way
Like our right to refuse to clap our hands [pause pause]
[[log in to unmask]">Bennet Zurofsky is Director of the Solidarity Singers of the New Jersey Industrial Union Council, a street chorus that has been performing on picket lines and at rallies for more than 22 years.]
Now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Renewing their dreams of past glories
I see the old men all tired, stiff and worn
Those weary old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
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Another war with North Korea would be disastrous. It could easily go nuclear. It should be unthinkable. For South Korea, which would bear the brunt of any conflict, there is NO military option. As 58 retired US military leaders acknowledged in a letter to Trump, military action “would result in hundreds of thousands of casualties.” The people of Korea—North and South—the peoples of the region, and Americans ALL want peace.
On a very encouraging note, in November 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an “Olympic Truce,” a cessation of hostilities during the Winter Games, which gained the support of 157 Member States including both Koreas and future hosts of the Olympic Games: Japan, China, France and the United States.
We in the United States have a special responsibility to demand diplomacy, not war, with North Korea. The Korea Collaboration, an ad hoc network, is calling for weeks of action during the Winter Olympics (February 9 - 25), the Paralympics (March 9 - 18), and the broader period of the Olympic Truce (February 2 to March 25). UFPJ is asking all our member groups and individuals to organize actions in your communities.
The Olympic Truce represents an important opportunity to defuse tensions and begin the work of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. The United States should fully support both Korean governments’ efforts to restore a peace process. In a very significant development, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has successfully persuaded a reluctant Donald Trump to postpone U.S.-South Korea war drills that would have coincided with the Olympics.
Meet Griselda Aguilera Cabrera, the youngest volunteer in the Cuban Revolution’s 1961 literacy campaign. Some 250,000 volunteers, half of them teenagers and majority female, went to rural and working-class areas and taught a million Cubans how to read and write.
Now retired from her career as an educator, Griselda works with the Cuban Psychology Society’s Working Group on Identity and Diversity, in activities to combat homophobia, racial discrimination, prejudice against people with HIV/AIDS, and violence against women and girls.
The history of modern social movements in the United States largely overlooks the story of Puerto Rican activists and their organizations. Responding to this gap, a group of activists of the Movimiento Pro Independencia (MPI)/Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) in the U.S. have embarked on a series of projects that chronicle political activism within the Puerto Rican Diaspora from the 1960s through the 1980s.
On Friday, February 16, 2018 at El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, in the Dance Studio, Carmen Vivian Rivera and Andrés Torres, will lead a discussion on their experience as leaders of the MPI-PSP in the United States and its relevance to current social justice and political resistance movements.
The event will focus on a visual presentation of some of the archival collection from the ¡Despierta Boricua! RECOVERING HISTORY PROJECT. This project sheds light on the activities of the PSP and its newspaper CLARIDAD (particularly the Bilingual U.S. Supplement).
February 16, 2018, 7:00 pm
Art Space 99 St (between 2 and 3 avenue)
Sponsored by: Familia Matos-Vasquez, Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña
Co-sponsored by the NLG National Office and the National Immigration Project of the NLG
In 2015, NLG membership adopted a resolution calling for “the dismantling and abolition of all prisons and of all aspects of systems and institutions that support, condone, create, fill, or protect prisons.” In honor of this resolution, in 2016 the NLG expanded our annual Student Week Against the Death Penalty to become the Week Against Mass Incarceration (WAMI).
In 2018, we ask NLG Law School and Local Chapters to organize events and actions on the intersection of mass incarceration and immigration in this current political climate. In past years, Guild chapters have organized interactive workshops, community discussions, film screenings, tabling, letter writing campaigns, banner drops, visits to incarcerated youth, and panels on topics such as solitary confinement, school to prison pipeline, immigration detention, transformative justice, and alternatives to incarceration.
The Guild is currently engaged in unique and innovative efforts nationwide to alleviate some of the harm inflicted by the prison-industrial complex and immigration regime. The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) is a national non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and support to community-based immigrant organizations, legal practitioners, and all advocates seeking and working to advance the rights of non-citizens. NIPNLG promotes justice and equality of treatment in all areas of immigration law, the criminal justice system, and policies related to immigration. For 46 years, the National Immigration Project has served as a progressive source of advocacy-oriented legal support on issues critical to immigrant rights.
To learn more about incarcerated Guild members, their concerns, and more resources on prison litigation and organizing, please check out the NLG Jailhouse Lawyer website.
Please email NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at [log in to unmask] to share the events you are organizing! Everyone should post flyers, pictures, and event invites on the Week Against Mass Incarceration Facebook eventpage and join the conversation on Twitter using #NLG and #Decarcerate. Tweet to us @NLGnews!
NLG National Office
132 Nassau Street, Rm. 922
New York, NY 10038
The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund board is pleased to announce that our online application is available for student activists who are organizing for social change and building progressive movements on campus and in community. We are in a critical time of resistance with growing numbers on the frontlines of social change in movements for economic and racial justice, prison abolition, immigration struggles, indigenous rights, reproductive and gender justice, climate justice and LGBTQ rights. We are additionally concerned with international solidarity challenging US imperialism and militarism. We encourage student leaders in these movements to apply this year.
Our website provides answers to questions about the Fund, the application process, and the students we support. If you know of students working for peace and justice, or if you have a list of activist contacts, please send this announcement along and refer potential applicants to the Fund’s website: www.davisputter.org . From there, the applicant will be directed to the online application page and asked to register an account with name and email.
Since 1961 the Davis-Putter Fund has provided need-based grants to students doing academic work at the college level and are involved in building movements for social and economic justice. Grantees are both graduates and undergraduates enrolled in accredited schools/programs for the period covered by their grant - trade school or certification programs will be considered. Although citizenship is not a consideration, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited program in the US during the 2018/19 academic year in order to qualify. International students coming to the US for study only are rarely funded, but will be considered if all other eligibility requirements are met.
The maximum grant is $10,000 and may be considerably smaller depending on the applicant's circumstances and the funding available. All the funds come from individual donors and there are 25-30 grants awarded each year. Grants are for one year although students may re-apply for subsequent years.
An online application must be submitted along with a personal statement (no more than 1000 words), two letters of recommendation, transcripts, financial aid reports by April 1. Incarcerated applicants may request a paper application. Those selected to receive a grant will be notified in July.
Our Memorial Day project continues as 2018 unfolds. In terms of the American War in Viet Nam, this year looms large — fifty years ago the Tet Offensive exploded; the infamous My Lai massacre took its devastating toll; Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated; and on and on. Perhaps a loved one of yours was caught up in the net of this murderous war or you were directly impacted yourself by the war.
Over the past few years we have laid 371 letters at the foot of The Wall in Washington, DC (the Vietnam Veterans Memorial) on consecutive Memorial Days. We plan on delivering more letters this coming Memorial Day. Will yours be one of them? We sure hope so. To view previous years’ letters, please check out this page of our website — or to order our special edition of collected letters THE LETTERS TO THE WALL. If you are writing a letter for us to deliver this Memorial Day (May 28, 2018), please send your letter to [log in to unmask] before May 15th. Your letter will also be posted on our website prior to Memorial Day. Please note that the National Park Service collects each letter for their archival collection and may publicly display letters at a later date. We also plan on putting together another collection of letters using the 2017 and 2018 letters, so by submitting your letter to us, you are also giving us your permission to use it in these ways. Thank you!
You've heard of Kent State and maybe Jackson State. But have you heard of the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre? On February 8, 1968, eight seconds of police gunfire left three young men dying and at least 27 wounded on the campus of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, S.C. All of the police were white, all of the students African-American. Almost all of the victims were shot from behind as they fled the gunfire that erupted without warning. Students were protesting segregation at the local bowling alley. An activist with minimal involvement in the protest, Cleveland Sellers, was arrested for inciting a riot and sentenced to a year in prison. For more info, see the powerful documentary film: Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 and read more at the link below.
For more information, additional materials, see The Zinn Education Project. Click here.